YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Demolition of the closed Welsh Congregational Church and a closed print shop is on hold until at least next month.
Members of the city’s Design Review Committee filed applications submitted on behalf of the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown until their March meeting to demolish the buildings at 220 Elm St. and 208 W. Wood St. in awaiting the submission of detailed plans for the landscaping of the two properties. , which are near St. Columba’s Cathedral.
The intention was to begin demolition as soon as approval was given and complete it within a month, said Tracie Kaglic, president of Olsavsky Jaminet.
Olsavsky Jaminet Architects Inc., Youngstown, submitted documents showing aerial views of the two buildings to be demolished. The foundations of the structures, adjacent parking areas, and a retaining wall adjacent to the church were also to be removed and replaced with landscaping in the short term.
The submissions did not include descriptions of the proposed landscaping, which was one of the sticking points for committee members.
“Our suggestion would be to come up with a landscape plan with a bigger vision,” said Hunter Morrison, a planning consultant who works for the city.
Committee members wanted to see not only short-term plans for venues, but also potential long-term plans.
Patrick Kelly, the diocese’s financial bidder, said there are renderings of a potential structure that would serve as a residence for priests, but the diocese has not yet committed to it as a plan for the site.
“There are many discussions going on,” Kaglic said.
The fate of the Welsh structure, believed to be the city’s oldest church, has been the subject of debate for several years, with local conservatives advocating for the building to be saved. At one point, Youngstown CityScape was working on a plan to move the structure to a site at West Wood and Hazel streets.
The building had not been used for worship for more than 25 years and continued to deteriorate, posing a health risk to the community, Bishop Robert Siffrin of the diocese said in a statement released by the diocese on Tuesday after- midday.
“In my opinion, given the current state of the building and the uncertain efforts to move and renovate it, this project has become even more uncertain than when it started. Together with our partners, we have dreamed of the possibility of saving this historic structure, but the last thing we want to do is move it to a new location where it will continue to languish in its current state (or worse) for years to come. to come. ,” he said. “Along with other members of the community, I regret that concrete measures could not be developed to save this structure.”
Kelly said there were “no planned goals” for the building and no funds had been raised to rehabilitate it once it was moved.
The intention was to use the relocated building to benefit the community, said Sharon Letson, executive director of Youngstown CityScape. The same person who committed the funds to move the structure was also interested in putting more money into the project, but Letson said she “couldn’t accept any more money for the project until we had a clear way”.
In January, diocesan officials announced that the fire-damaged building, which the diocese has owned since 2016, would be demolished, pending city approval.
“The diocese owns the building so they can decide to do with it what they want,” Letson said.
The city had issued a “shave or repair” order in October 2015, before the diocese acquired the building for the purpose of redeveloping the property on Elm Street between Wood Street and Rayen Avenue, Siffrin said.
The 1997 fire “did a lot of damage inside,” Kaglic said. People cannot enter the building without squeezing the boundary walls because of the hole in it. She also said she would be happy to inspect to see if anything inside is salvageable.
Stained glass windows and pews in the church are in storage, Kelly said. “We will work with anyone to find a good home for these,” he remarked.
Letson said the building was in the same condition as when CityScape gutted the building and hired a mover to move the structure.
Also during the meeting, the panel approved a pair of signage requests on behalf of the Youngstown & Mahoning County Public Library and Youngstown State University.
The committee approved a total of seven panels for PLYMC’s main library, which is undergoing a $25 million renovation and expansion.
“We are very pleased with the progress we have made so far on this building that we have been promising to deliver for about a decade,” said Aimee Fifarek, Executive Director and CEO of the Library System. The first two phases of the building are now open and the fact that the library is coming to council for sign approval signals that the end of the project is approaching.
The committee approved two ground signs, one replacing the current Wick Avenue sign and another on East Rayen Avenue; a sign on the new retaining wall on Walnut Street North; two wall entry panels at north and south entrances, one media return panel; and a door entry panel at the restored Wick Avenue entrance that recreates the original “For the People” inscription on the bronze transom panel above the new bronze entry doors.
“We spent a lot of time debating all these panels,” said architect David Hogue of Bostwick Design Partnership, Cleveland. They balanced historic and contemporary by using simple lines and shapes with “what we thought was a very classic color palette,” he said.
“It’s very well done,” said committee member Bill D’Avignon.
Upgrade plans to accommodate the replacement of three existing YSU signs at Fifth and Rayen Avenues, Fifth and Eastbound Service Road, and Service Road and Wick Avenue were approved without discussion. No one representing YSU or RL Smith Graphics Inc., Boardman, attended Tuesday’s meeting.
On the picture : The demolition of the closed Welsh Congregational Church and a closed printing works is on hold until at least next month.
Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.